Hi, I’m Tamlyn (Also known as Sewn on the Tyne) and I’m so happy to be here today with my first blog post as part of the Pin and Sew Blogger Team.
When Aga asked me to be first up with the March blog post and to link it in with our #sewingpatternsandprints challenge (head to my Instagram page for more details), I knew exactly which fabric I wanted to choose. The challenge theme for March is ‘metallics’ and Aga has some incredibly beautiful fabrics that meet this theme. I love space themed prints, especially stars, so the Galactic Glitter jersey was right up my street! The print is stunning and stands out so well against the dark navy background.
I had a couple of ideas for what I could make with the fabric, such as a fitted top, but I had recently seen and loved a make by one of the Tilly team, Louise Carmichael, which was a gathered skirt hack of the Tilly and the Buttons Freya dress (in the Stretch book), so I opted for this.
I really loved the look of this dress, with its mock neck band, close fitting bodice and sleeves with a fun gathered skirt attached. I asked Aga if the fabric would be suitable for this and she confirmed that it would be a perfect match – result!
When the fabric arrived, in plastic-free packaging (as always), it was even more stunning than I imagined. I was desperate to get sewing, so I pre-washed it straight away, on my usual 30 degree wash, and left it to air dry.
In terms of cutting out the pattern pieces, I used all of the Freya top pieces, but took 22cm off the length of the front and back bodice pieces. This was simply as a result of me holding a tape measure against myself and deciding where I wanted the bodice to end and the skirt to begin. For the skirt, I followed the advice on the Tilly blog, which suggested multiplying your hip measurement by 1.5 and then dividing by two to give the width of each rectangle. The length is personal preference. I went for 55cm, knowing that I could shorten it to my preferred length at the hemming stage. To cut the fabric, I used an A1 cutting mat with pattern weights and a rotary cutter. I was ‘supervised’ throughout this process by my lovely cats, Chester and Ziggy. The fabric cut really easily and didn’t shift at all. I marked any notches and I was ready to sew!
The construction of the garment was so simple. I sewed the majority of the bodice on my overlocker but I did top stitch the seam of the neck band using an even zig zag stitch on my sewing machine.
Once the bodice was constructed, with neckband and sleeves attached, it wastime to add the skirt pieces. It was at this point that I had a sudden realisation – this dress needed pockets! I had enough fabric left over (I started with 2 metres), so set about cutting 4 pocket pieces using a pattern piece from another garment (The Nina Lee Southbank sweater dress, which I’d highly recommend if you haven’t tried it yet – I have three so far!) To decide where to place these, I again used the highly technical process of holding a tape measure against myself and measuring down to where my hands would naturally fall. I attached the pockets using my sewing machine before sewing the two rectangles together to make the skirt and overlocking to finish the seams.
To create the gathers, I sewed three rows of long, straight stitches on the front and back skirt pieces. I made a snip in the centre of the front and back bodice pieces as well as the skirt pieces and then started gathering the skirt by pulling the threads of the gathering stitches. The centre-point stitches helped to ensure the gathers were evenly spread around the skirt and I used clips to hold it all in place before attaching them together using my overlocker.
The final step was to try the dress on and decide on the length to hem the skirt and sleeves, which I then did on my sewing machine using an even zig zag stitch. I gave all the seams and hems a quick press with the iron and there we go! A beautiful, comfortable dress which can be dressed both up and down depending on styling and the occasion.
I am so happy with the finished result – thank you to Louise for the inspiration. I really hope you all like it as much as I do! I’m also delighted that I remembered to add pockets – such a simple step but it really enhances the dress (in my opinion!)